Great Britain’s government has expanded its COVID-19 vaccination booster program to residents in their 40s in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus during the winter months, The Associated Press reported.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) said people aged 40-49 are eligible to receive a booster six months after their initial shot.
JCVI also said it will offer a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine have to 16-17-year-old citizens three months after their first initial shot.
The committee said the two new vaccine program initiatives will “help extend our protection into 2022,” according to the AP.
Before the new initiative, residents over the age of 50 and those deemed vulnerable in younger age groups were eligible to receive their vaccine booster shots, the AP reported.
British Prime Minister Boris JohnsonBoris JohnsonUK cracks down on travel as omicron concerns rise British minister warns against 'snogging under the mistletoe' this year The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron MORE has urged vaccinated citizens to get their booster shots as an extra level of protection amid concerns of other European countries imposing new lockdowns.
“What we have certainly got to recognize is there is a storm of infection out there in parts of Europe, you can see those numbers ticking up very sharply in some of our continental friends,” Johnson said.
“And we’ve just got to recognize that there is always a risk that a blizzard could come from the east again, as the months get colder,” Johnson added.
The expansion of the booster program comes as the government has resisted renewing past COVID-19 restrictions including indoor mask mandate and or implementing a vaccine passport program.
The U.K. Health Security study showed that adults over the age of 50 have at least 93 percent reduced risk of getting COVID-19 two weeks after getting their booster, the AP reported.
The British government has confirmed more than 260,000 new COVID-19 infections in the past week, up 6 percent from the previous week, the AP noted.